Funereal: A Profile in Groove, Out Now

Find a feature on new Seoul-based novel Funereal in this month’s Groove Korea magazine by the title of ‘Darkness, Mannequins and Funereal, as written by British author Giacomo Lee.

Praise for Giacomo Lee’s Funereal:

Colin Marshall @ Boing Boing:

Lee…accomplishes a literary act of which I know no precedent: convincingly rendering Korean characters through Western eyes. His countryman David Mitchell essayed a dystopian Korea in one layer of Cloud Atlas, but he set it in the unrecognizably distant future. Lee writes of the dystopian Korea of today, one that, in his conception, has driven itself nearly to the asylum with its own increasingly impossible standards and hopelessly unrealistic expectations… Out of that grim material he has crafted the first Western novel of Korea’s dark side.

Mark James Russell, author of K-Pop Now! and Pop Goes Korea:

The rare Western writer to look at Korea has usually written about Westerners in Korea or about the Korean War or some distant past. With a touch of Murakami (Ryu or Haruki, take your pick) and dash of Bruce Sterling, Lee evokes a modern Korea, deeply ambivalent about the new society that is rapidly taking shape. At once a realistic look at modern Korea and all too unreal.

Lore at United Kpop:

Like Murakami’s work, Funereal uses deep noir themes to drive its plot… [It] is an intriguing, fictional look at a subculture that surprisingly does exist in the country the novel is set. [This] debut novel is an interesting read, and one I highly recommend.

Zander at Critical Kpop:

Soobin is the face of the company—friendly, natural-looking, cheerful—and things seem to be going well. That is, until clients start dying. This kicks off the plot-heavy part of the novel, which starts off realist but full of the flashing neon and bubbliness you might expect from KPop, and gradually moves into something more surrealist and sci-fi. It’s dark throughout, yet not unrelentingly so… Funereal is a powerful book that discusses an important subject without sentimentality or sensationalism.

Funereal is the first look at surgery, stardom and the search for happiness in modern day South Korea. Imagine a surreal, dystopian take on ‘hallyu’ (한류), Seoul and so-called k-pop ‘cultural technology’ (문화콘텐츠기술). It’s also a proper book i.e. not self-published, and you can find it in paperback and e-book on Signal 8 Press, East Asia’s leading English language indie press.

Catch some recent interviews with Giacomo over at The Korea HeraldBusan Haps Magazine.

– Giacomo Lee for Trickster Trickster, November 2015


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